Wal-Mart suddenly closed five stores in four states on Monday for alleged plumbing problems.

The closures could last up to six months and affect roughly 2,200 workers in Texas, California, Oklahoma, and Florida, CNN Money reports. Wal-Mart employees say they were completely blindsided by the news, having been notified only a couple hours before the stores closed at 7 p.m. Monday. 

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Italy’s Five Star Movement (M5S) party has collected more than 100,000 signatures on a petition calling for a law that would allow a referendum on withdrawal from the eurozone.

M5S MP Carlo Sibila says he expects a referendum to take place at the start of next year. Though the petition has already surpassed the required amount of signatures needed for the initiative, Sibila said that he hopes it will gather another 50,000 by early May in order to highlight the issue.

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Washington (AFP) – Most Americans’ incomes continued to fall last year, but the richest 20 percent saw theirs rise, a new Labor Department report showed Thursday.

In fresh data that adds fire to a growing debate over income inequality, the department said that Americans on average saw income decline for the second straight year in the 12 months to June 2014.

The average pre-tax income fell 0.9 percent from the same period a year earlier, to $64,432.

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Greece is drawing up drastic plans to nationalise the country’s banking system and introduce a parallel currency to pay bills unless the eurozone takes steps to defuse the simmering crisis and soften its demands.

Sources close to the ruling Syriza party said the government is determined to keep public services running and pay pensions as funds run critically low. It may be forced to take the unprecedented step of missing a payment to the International Monetary Fund next week.

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The National Bank of Ukraine is raising its benchmark interest rate to 30 percent from 19.5 percent, the biggest increase in 15 years. It reflects the bank’s attempt to save the collapsing economy from hyperinflation that some estimate at 272 percent.

The new refinancing rate becomes effective from Wednesday, Ukraine’s National Bank said Tuesday.

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